Panasonic Toyota Racing is one team with one aim – to succeed in Formula 1. But the team stretches beyond the dedicated staff at its technical centre in Cologne, Germany, to include its valued partners.
Without sponsors, Formula 1 would look very different, not only in terms of the added resources they bring to associate themselves with motorsport’s elite series, but also when it comes to the technology at the heart of the sport.
It is easy to assume a Formula 1 sponsorship deal starts and ends with a sticker on the car or a patch on a driver’s overall, but there is much more to a successful partnership. For its partners, Panasonic Toyota Racing offers a package of benefits which allow them to draw maximum advantage out of their association with the team.
As well as logos in all the right places, partners get dedicated support to maximise their sponsorship deal, ranging from exclusive hospitality at races and tests, to events at the technical centre and personal appearances from drivers and team management at their events.
Formula 1 reaches almost 3billion viewers in over 180 countries and over 3.5million people at the race track every season, making it an immediate attraction to companies wanting to increase brand awareness or drive business objectives on a global level. But as well as having numbers which appeal to the head, it also has emotions to appeal to the heart.
Andy Fuchs, General Manager Marketing and Communications, explains: "From the coverage point of view Formula 1 is already unique, but don’t forget the enormous benefit and value also associated with Formula 1 - it is engineering excellence, passion, glamour.
"All these values make Formula 1 a unique platform and therefore a wonderful opportunity for companies who share our passion to present themselves and talk to their fans through this great sponsor platform."
Panasonic Toyota Racing is proud to be associated with a loyal group of partners, led by title sponsor Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co Ltd, which has used its Panasonic brand to support the team since its first season in 2002.
Panasonic has made good use of its association with Formula 1, including taking advantage of a dedicated filming day each year to emphasise its links to the team in television adverts, which strengthen not only Panasonic’s brand, but also that of the team.
While brand-building is a clear advantage of a partnership with Panasonic Toyota Racing, some partnerships adopt a more hands-on approach. That is the case with Dassault Systemes, which specialises in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management tools and has partnered the team since the start of its Formula 1 era.
Dassault Systemes’ products help the team design new car parts faster than ever but the partnership works both ways. President John Howett explains: "We look at all partnerships as a win-win opportunity and we are delighted with our partnership with Dassault Systemes.
"We need the know-how and technology they bring us in terms of system development to enable us to push the boundaries of our performance, and we hope we give them reciprocal challenge because of the high level of performance required in Formula 1."
A new partner for 2007 is Kingfisher Airlines, which has enthusiastically promoted its association in one of Formula 1’s emerging new markets, India.
Kingfisher Airlines CEO Dr Vijay Mallya has become famous for holding extravagant parties in glamorous locations in Monaco and Istanbul, which have attracted celebrities and VIPs.
Dr Mallya says: "Kingfisher Airlines sponsors the Toyota Formula 1 team and so it adds to the Formula 1 glamour and experience, which will only enhance our sponsorship."
And by using images of the Panasonic Toyota Racing team in their advertising and promotion, as well as emphasising their connection even further with Formula 1-related competitions, Kingfisher Airlines is making the most of its partnership.
As Andy Fuchs says: "The beauty of Formula 1 is that while building a global platform, partners also have the opportunity to activate on a local basis, whether that is when a race is hosted or in the case of Kingfisher Airlines we see there is a multitude of creative ideas of how Formula 1, and especially their relationship with Panasonic Toyota Racing, is activated."
The attraction of Formula 1, of course, is in seeing the action live, and Panasonic Toyota Racing partners have the opportunity to get closer than ever before.
Exclusive hospitality at the race or test track can also be combined with access to the pit garage during practice sessions, or garage tours to see what really goes on behind the scenes. These exclusive offers are not available to the general public and make for a unique experience.
Partners are part of the team, and at the annual pre-season event, they share in the focus when the new car is revealed to the worldwide media, as well as thousands of fans who watch the action via webcast.
But to really understand what it takes to compete in Formula 1, what better place than the team’s technical centre in Cologne? As one of only two teams to manufacture the entire car under one roof, a guided tour gives a rare insight into motorsport.
Guests can even arrive in true Formula 1 style on board the official team bus, as part of the team’s partnership with MAN, and its bus division NEOMAN.
For valuable contacts, deserving employees or competition winners, this visit is a truly memorable day, as Andy Fuchs explains: "This is what people want to see. They want to see where the car is made. You can touch and feel and get a better understanding of what it means really to build today’s F1 car. This is what many of our partners utilise, they have a showcase to display their products and their association with our company."
These are just some examples of the valued partners associated with Panasonic Toyota Racing, and just a few of the benefits available to them. The challenge in Formula 1 is to excel in ever area, and for Panasonic Toyota Racing, that extends to all aspects of the team – including our partnerships.